Sunday, 13 January 2013

17th (Armoured Car) Battalion, Tank Corps

The 17th (Armoured Car) Battalion of the Tank Corps served in Marlborough Barracks, Dublin during the Tan War/War of Independence.

Prior to this they had served in France and Germany. This passage is a nice summary of the work of the 17th   Battalion :


It was formed, equipped, and landed in France in the short 
space of six days. In six months it fought in ten separate 
battles with English, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, 
South African, French, and American troops, and was three 
times mentioned in German dispatches. Every car was 
hit and some of them many times, and yet the total losses 
in killed in action throughout this period was only one officer 
and four other ranks. At the cost of these five men and 
seven cars totally destroyed, this battalion must have in- 
flicted scores if not hundreds of casualties on the enemy. 
That the British Army was not equipped with many more of 
these units will be a problem which will doubtless perplex 
the minds of future military historians. 

The 5 men killed were :

Pte Frank Robinson KIA 11/6/1918
Cpl William McNicoll KIA 21/8/1918
Pte Herbert Taylor KIA 29/9/1918

Balch, Talor and McNicoll had all been transferred from the Royal Flying Corps.

In Ireland, the battalion had Austin (and later Peerless) armoured cars as well as some Whippet medium tanks and the rhomboid Mark V  and Mark V* normally associated with WW1.

A number of Whippet tanks from the 17th (AC) Battalion took park in the Victory Parade in Dublin, 19th July 1919 (Victory Parades were held in many of the Allied countries on this date, following the Treaty of Versailles) :

A230 Gofasta
A378 Golikell
A351 Fanny Adams
A289 Fanny's Sister

A340 was photographed being used in County Clare.

3 others seem to have been in Ireland in 1919 :
A242 Sadko

while A374 appears to have been in Dublin in 1920. (Thanks to Christina McMullen in the Early Irish Militaria 1916-1946 Facebook group for a picture showing A374 in a raid and named as "Shurrup").

A Company appears to have used Austin armoured cars
B Company appears to have used Whippets tanks
C Company appears to have used the Mark IV, V and V* tanks

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